When is not #Writing, Writing? #IWSG

booksThe year-end vacation was a break of dreams: a few days in the middle of an Indonesian village reading books and more books, and listening to no noise other than that of birds. Well, a distant cow or two, and the rather demanding cats who made sure we shared our breakfasts, with their long, purr-ey miaows. This was followed by a lot of time with family and friends.

The last few months (years) have been a marathon of writing, editing, revising, so it felt great to just lie back and do nothing other than read. I was on the brink of a burnout before the break, but that seems to have been staved off, at least for now.

Reading for pleasure has taken on a new appeal. The month of January, I have more reading and travel planned, and same with February. I’ll let my next novel marinate for a while before getting to the drawing board and drafting ahead.

I’ve realized that even when I’m not writing, I’m still writing: filling up my well of creativity and storytelling. Not saying I’m not going to write at all in the coming weeks, but it won’t be a priority till March.

I’ll blog, of course. Next Monday, this blog turns ten. (I know. I can’t believe it either!)

What about you? Are you a writer or reader, or both? How did the year-end break treat you? What reading, writing and life plans have you made for the new year? What books have you read lately?


IWSG Writing groupThis post was written for the IWSG. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) every month! Go to the site to see the other participants. In this group we writers share tips, self-doubt, insecurities, and of course, discuss the act of writing. If you’re a writer and a blogger, go join rightaway! Co-hosts this month are: Tyrean MartinsonEllen @ The Cynical SailorMegan MorganJennifer Lane, and Rachna Chhabria.

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button.

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I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

61 comments

Add Yours
  1. Lonna Hill

    Ten years of blogging! That’s amazing! Congrats!

    I took a break from writing during the winter holiday and now I’m refreshed and giving another big push to get my novel finished.

    I’ve been reading a lot too. I read fifty books in 2017 and will read fifty again this year. Every writer needs to be reading, but it’s always hard for me to know what the balance should be. Is there a magic number of books an aspiring writer should be reading? I’m always looking for a formula and still haven’t found it yet. Maybe there isn’t one.

  2. thewellbeingspecialist

    Well, I’m having a reading slump, and it’s weird. I’ve had writers’ block before, but never readers’ block! But everything I pick up these days, I’m not getting into, I’m just not catching the flow – except gardening books!!

    I can’t explain it, but gardening books, I’m in, straight away. I want to know all about soil types and pruning practices. Go figure…

    Congrats on 10 years, such an awesome milestone – hope 2018 is full of celebrations for you!

    Natalie

  3. jmh

    I am definitely both, and I believe all writers should be readers. That said, I read fewer books last year than ever before. I found it more difficult to focus. I still read 65 or 66 in the year, but I flunked my Goodreads challenge for the first time.

    I feel like I’m needing to shut off my brain more and more these days when I’m not writing, and reading requires me to think.

  4. jpcallenwrites

    When you are a writer, it’s hard to observe the world and not think of ways to use your observations in writing, even if you are not working on anything specific.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Thanks Holly! I’ve had a policy of not accepting and participating in awards for some years now, but I love that you thought of me. I enjoy our chats, and am sure we’ll continue to be in touch via our blogs and twitter!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      That’s a great habit, Upasna! And thanks for your wishes– my 10th Blogiversary post will go up soonish.

  5. vishalbheeroo

    Congrats for the blogversary. The world of good books is like the mouth watering jalebis and fortunate few are surrounded by good reading. I have quite a few and now reading Shantaram’s sequel, The Mountain Shadow.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Thanks, Vishal– you’ve been a huge support over the months and years. Glad that you’re reading (I spent my entire Saturday reading, too, what luxury!!). I must read Shantaram.

  6. rationalraj2000

    “I’ve realized that even when I’m not writing, I’m still writing: filling up my well of creativity and storytelling”- Very important insight! All the best for your reading and writing in the months ahead!

  7. Shilpa Gupte

    That seems like a good plan, Damyanti! I hope you enjoy the journey as a writer, writing to your heart’s content!
    Last year, I lagged behind in my reading goals (reading blogposts isn’t included in ‘Reading’, according to me.) So, this year, after mulling over which book to begin the year with, I picked up ‘The English Teacher’ by R.K. Narayan. The one who gave us ‘Malgudi Days’…and am I glad I chose this book!
    Hoping this trend continues through the year.
    WIsh you the best for your writing and reading goals for 2018! Enjoy the journey, my dear!
    Also, a big THANK YOU, for reading every post of mine! You are such a darling!
    <3

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Shilpa, I’m only sorry I don’t get to comment oftener, but I do read all your posts. I must limit my blogging time, and that means I mostly end up spreading ‘likes’.

      Narayan is a wonderful author.

  8. Nikita

    Happy New Year 🙂 I do want to write daily but for now I manage 2-3 posts a week. I need to give my book blog a serious thought!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Happy New Year! Blogging thrice a week is wonderful– I can barely manage once a week– but am hoping to take it to two.

  9. sowmiaow

    I was very excited to see Lee Child’s book on the cover picture of your post 😀 I try to do both – more reading, less writing. Congratulations on your 10th anniversary. Thank you for reading my escapades!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Thanks! Pls add your blog link to your gravatar, so others can read your link, too!

  10. jm4805

    I write pretty much daily; slowly putting up. Short stories, horror, science fiction, fantasy, romance, adventure, magic realism. Big on always having a book to read, just finished some stuff by Ambroise Bierce; going into Neil Gaiman.

  11. Deb

    Happy Blogaversary! After NaNo, I revised another project and then just relaxed for the rest of December. Trying to get back into the grind now.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Thanks!

      I’ve done a fair amount of relaxing in December, and plan to get a few unfinished projects done before I delve back into novel-drafting again.

      All the best with your writing!

  12. hilarycustancegreen

    Yes, take break from writing, especially if you fill some of the space with reading. I’ve had several months of not writing, mostly for practical reasons, but scenes have been building in my mind and if they are any good, they will stay and take root. I just started writing again today.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Hilary, I never really take a break from writing, because other than my fiction, I average 50k words a year on my blog alone. But yeah, sometimes, after intense bouts of fiction, it feels good to just relax and lie back, reading.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Yeah, that was me, last year. This year I hope to divide my time equally between reading and writing!

  13. P V Ariel

    Hi D
    So glad to be here after a bit gap.
    Indeed good to read your break and write and write 🙂
    Yes, we can’t sit without pushing our pens!!!
    Keep going
    May lot of good things bring in this year too!
    Keep sharing.
    Season’s Greetings to you and your readers
    Best
    ~ Phil

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Hi Phil, thanks for your visit. I read your posts on G+

      Happy New Year to you and yours!

  14. Jemima Pett

    Good to know your break did you good, not only in the healing department but the writing department, too. I’m taking a week’s holiday in March. You’re the first person on the interwebs to hear of it, but I don’t suppose you’ll be the last lol

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Yay for your March Holiday!

      My plan for this year is to treat each day like a holiday–because if I take joy in each chore, it becomes a pleasure.

      While cooking yesterday, it struck me how fortunate I was to be able to cook a dish on a Sunday in a world where so many starve. I think my life is improving now that I have a renewed appreciation of everything it contains. It is all perspective.

  15. Kala Ravi

    I totally agree with you Damyanti, even when one is not actually in the act of writing, the mind is subconsciously collecting away ideas and little snippets of observation for use later. In fact I think such breaks are ideal to avoid burnouts.I had a bad reading 2017 and I hope the new year sees me reading more. Best wishes for the new year!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Yep, more subconscious collections, and less burnouts!

      Thanks, and here’s hoping 2018 is a good reading year for both of us 🙂

  16. sukrisblog

    Wow congratulations on your tenth.. this is just the beginning for me. Its a daily learning process here. Feels great to know so many people, ideas, thoughts and such wonderful communities like IWSG. Will bookmark and check it out again soon.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Thanks!

      The blogging community is very kind. Check out the advice tab on this site from other bloggers–they give tons of helpful tips.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      I’m more of a reader, too. Which is why I feel so bad I slipped up on my reading last year.

  17. Cathrina Constantine

    Wow, 10 years is a long time. Congrats!! I just finished reading the Shadow of Bones Trilogy. It was excellent if you like speculative fiction. Your vacation sounds absolutely delightful. Wishing you all the best in 2018!!

  18. Shailaja V

    Congrats on the blog turning ten! Always a wonderful thing when milestones come around.

    Wishing you a year filled with books and relaxation much like your last bit of 2017 🙂

  19. hilarymb

    Interesting Damyanti – my blog turns 10 next week too … as too another celebration: age! I may not be writing books etc … but I’m always mentally drafting or working round ideas … so always writing – even if not writing … !! Glad you had a happy relaxed time … take 2018 slowly and peacefully and all the very best – cheers Hilary

  20. ccyager

    I’m reading “A Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin, and while I enjoy all the political intrigue, I’m finding that I’m not a huge fan. Ah well. Since I lost my job just before Christmas, I had a lot more time during the holidays to myself while I also began another job search. I prefer quiet holidays so I spent last month’s reading, watching movies, and writing. Of course writers write even when they’re not at their desks! I think a lot about what I’m working on, and living life is a writer’s raw material. I’m glad you’re feeling so burned out and can step back and enjoy what you’re doing. I’m looking forward to getting a new job in 2018 — one that is truly a good fit for me — and I hope, no more drama around my finances and medical insurance! All the best to you for 2018!

  21. claire o'sullivan

    absolutely both. I read I think from S. King that without reading, there is no writing. Paraphrased. But reading different genres and consistently is part of my routine. Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation!

  22. C. Lee McKenzie

    I’m determined to return to reading for pleasure this year. I miss that more than anything. If all goes as planned, I’ll be taking time for more travel, too. As you’ve said, you’re always writing even when you’re not at your desk with your computer or a pen in hand. Ideas come from so many different places, so I’m off to some of those places. Here’s to a wonderful 2018 for us both.

  23. Shalini

    Ah. I couldn’t read much last year. So now I have decided that I would read at least one book per week. And wow. Congratulations on your tenth. Many more to come. Keep writing!

  24. tyreanmartinson

    Congrats on ten years!!!
    I took a break in December, letting the season of holidays and extra family and friend gatherings wrap its warmth around me. I took some much-needed walks in different places (not just down my street) and did a tiny bit of writing in my journal. It was a good month to refill the creativity well and now I’m writing again and loving it.
    I hope you have a wonderful rest, relax, travel, and recharge month! Happy 2018!

  25. fenster

    Ten years! That is a great accomplishment. Well done.
    I’m envious of the calm place you’re residing. It must be a wonderful sensation. I wish you all the best.

  26. mhsusannematthews

    I’m getting ready for a January vacation, too. The first time I escape winter for 2 weeks in the sun. I’m hoping it will recharge my batteries. Best of luck to you in 2018.